WOODLAND PARK — Amid weeks of renewed controversy regarding the fate of Christopher Columbus statues around New Jersey, an event aims to show support for the explorer’s meaning to Italian-Americans, according to one of the groups hosting it.

The Facebook page of Roma Sports Caffe has announced a “Rediscover Columbus” event being planned by Roma Sports Club, UNICO Wayne and Scoglitti Society.

According to the post, the event at Dowling Gardens Wednesday, July 29 at 6 p.m will include music, food and special guests. It is aimed at promoting preservation of Columbus statues and monuments, while also celebrating “Italian-American unity.”

Roma Sports Caffe President Christopher Falone recently shared an open letter on June 11, slamming vandalism of Columbus monuments elsewhere in the country as “intolerable.”

Falone said in the letter “These are not the actions of conscientious and peaceful protesters hoping to instigate much needed change in our society, they are simple acts of vandalism perpetrated by derelicts looking to cause further damage in their communities.”

“Italians find these acts to be highly disrespectful” Falone said, while noting “Columbus is a figure revered by many in our community.”

Last week in Union County, the Scotch Plains Township Council voted unanimously to keep its Christopher Columbus monument in front of the municipal building.

A few other New Jersey communities have opted to remove their own Columbus statues since the spring.

Camden and Newark officials each made the decision out of respect for the divisiveness of the explorer's actions, while Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora said “lots of input” from residents and community groups was involved in the decision to remove a statue from the city's Columbus park until it can be relocated.

At least two other statues privately maintained by Italian American groups in Atlantic City and Newark were removed for other reasons, including to avoid damage by vandals.

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